NEW! Encounters with the "Other": A History and Possibilities by Barry Oshry (PDF)

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Part Number:31
Encounters with the "Other" ends with a 'catalogue of catastrophes' starting with the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya of Myanmar, back through the Holdomor and the Holocaust to the Armenian genocide. This is a reminder, if any were needed, that contemporary societies have not lost their taste for identifying and labelling the 'others' in their midst and slaughtering them. Indeed, populist governments positively rely on the cohesion that can be found in bringing a group of people together in the face of an external threat. In Encounters with the "Other" Barry Oshry uses the lenses of 'loose and tight', liberal and conservative', 'pure and conflicted', 'tolerance and purity' to highlight the range of reflexive responses we can have to 'others in our midst' especially when we are under the stress of poverty, lack of housing or shortage of jobs. He then shows how these responses can be characterized as seeing through Power or Love (seeing in terms of our differences from the other or in terms of what we have in common with the other). Finally, he suggests how the intolerant 'Power cycle' can be interrupted and tempered by the more inclusive 'Love cycle'.

Barry Oshry has a lifetime's experience of working with social and organizational systems.

Here he explains how we can understand - and avoid - the 'catastrophes' that continue to occur when one culture meets another - when demagogues sell us messages of superiority or purity in the face of cultural differences.

Algeria, Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Congo, Darfur, East Timor, The Holdomor, The Holocaust, Myanmar, Palestine, Rwanda...

He explains how the two conventional solutions to encountering the 'other' - purity and tolerance - both exact a terrible cost on the oppressed while diminishing the humanity of the oppressors.

And he offers us a third possibility, one that requires fundamental transformation in how we see and experience one another.  This transformation requires us to understand that he interaction patterns we fall into shape the way we see and experience one another.  Change the pattern of interaction and our experiences of one another will change.

The possibility of 'power and love', working together and tempering one another, will emerge.